The GREGORY Name
Origin : Latin
Meaning: "Vigilante, Watchman"
Starting in the 12th century and by the end of the 13th century most of the people of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales had adopted the practice of adding a surname to their given names to distinguish individuals better. At first the names usually indicated either an occupation (Smith, Miller, Cook) or a location (Overhill, Brook, London) or from the father (John-son, William-son) or a characteristic (Lytle, Short, Small, Longfellow).
In very early languages Gregory (or other versions) have been found to mean "watchful" or "watchers"; so its possible that the name could have been given to some kind of fortress or palace guards. An early English translation indicates that it meant "Son of Gregory" or "Son of a Gregory".
Some other versions of the Gregory name are: Gregor, Greggor, Grigorey (Russian) and MacGregor (Scottish).
Although there have been Gregorys in America since Europeans have been emigrating here, when exactly our Gregory ancestor came to America has not yet been determined. Deductions made from information gathered from our earliest confirmed ancestor, John Gregory, indicate that it was probably in the mid to late 1700s. Possibly this ancestor fought in the Revolutionary War, but on which side?
John Gregory (the earliest confirmed ancestor in our line) was born (according to his Missouri census records) in Virginia in 1808. (West Virginia was part of Virginia at this time and his birthplace could be in what is today West Virginia).
Sometime after his birth, whether it was with his parents or later after he left home he followed the migration west and moved to northeastern Missouri where he found a wife (Frances Rush) and bought land in Lewis County, Missouri to farm. Census records show John Gregory lived on and was farming this land from before 1850 to after 1880. At age 72 not only was he still farming but he and Frances were taking care of a granddaughter.
John and Frances had 10 known children. Their 4th child was Alexander, the father of William, Marshall, James Wade, Frances and Charlie Gregory.
The amount of information that the U. S. census gathered increased in each decade, which provided more information for the family researcher. For the first time in the US the 1880 census asked individuals where their parents were born. John indicated that his father was born in England and his mother in Virginia. This indicates that his father (name unknown at this time) came to America as a boy in the 1700s or as a young man in the late 1700s to very early 1800s where he married a Virginia woman and started our American heritage.
There is a family tale of how Alexander got into trouble as a young man in Missouri and his father gave him a "fast horse" and sent him out for Texas.
From census records we know Alexander lived in Missouri in 1860 and was no longer with the family in 1870. No other records of him have have been found until he until he showed up in the 1880 census in Stephens County, Texas. He owned a ranch there and had his own brand.
Where was he between 1860 and 1880? The Civil War was fought during this period, Lewis County, Missouri was torn by both sides. Did he get caught up in that bloody war? Was he on the run? Maybe he was just exploring the wild west.
In 1880 he had a wife and two boys, William and Marshall. William, the oldest was only 3 years old so they probably were married in the mid 1870's. No more records have ever been found on Alexander and his wife Sarah. It is known that he had three more children; James Wade, Fannie and Charles. There are many stories in the family about what happened to Alexander.
The youngest son Charles was born in Indian Territory in 1887 in the Chickasaw Nation. Alexander and his wife died in this time before 1900 when their children were young and the children spent time in an orphanage and working like "slaves" for an Uncle T or Uncle Ben (on their mothers side).
None of the children passed along the information about what happened to Alexander and Sarah and no records have been found to tell the story. Different family stories have said he was killed outrunning a posse, or he was killed as part of a posse or he was killed over a land/fence dispute or he and his wife died of a "river disease" in Oklahoma. The 1890's were the time of the great land rushes in Oklahoma, property line disputes were quite common.
The next documentation showing the children of Alexander started in the early 1900s in Oklahoma. They seemed to try to always stay together, as they lived in the Davis, Oklahoma area where James Wade and possibly Marshall worked for the railroad and finally in the Lone Wolf, Oklahoma area to farm. When the dust bowl hit they were forced to start moving west to survive. Fannie was the only one that stayed and lived the rest of her life in Duncan, Oklahoma. William went on to California to farm and raise his famous watermelons, James Wade, Marshall and Charlie to Oregon to cash in on that "limitless" timber industry.